The Meaning Within the Muse…
“When you strip away all of the cool sounds and fancy beats – it’s important there’s still a song in there with a message.”
What would the soundtrack of your life sound like? What artist would you choose to compose it? You would surely insist that it have meaning, right?
One artist you may consider for such a task is Leemanuel Hightire. Leemanuel is a singer; songwriter and producer focused on the meaning within the muse.
Leemanuel’s creative goal is to compose socially-conscious songs with a unique blend of r&b, pop and rock. “Sure, I can do love songs and good-time songs.” He continues, “However, for me it is more about social justice, the environment, and poverty … some would call this ‘message music.’”
Deep within Leemanuel’s r&b – and silky smooth vocals – are carefully-crafted melodies and an innate and introspective look into the human condition. Originally born in Arkansas, Leemanuel and his family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he was four.
His family had a large influence on him musically. He explains, “Most of my family sang, especially my mother – and all of us sang in the choir at church.” However, of all his siblings, Leemanuel was the most captivated by music … by its mechanics and melodic movements.
He notes, “I was always entranced how music moves the soul, freely – without permission. Early on, he had an ear for melody and vocal harmonies, “I joke about it now with my sisters, but I would be the one teaching them their parts in a song,” Leemanuel recalls. It was during his childhood that he immersed himself into the pop and soul sounds streaming out of Detroit. He found the sounds coming out of Motown irresistible.
Leemanuel took his innate musical abilities and began to hone them while listening to some of his favorite Motown artists such as The Jackson Five, The Temptations and The Commodores. Although he considers himself a student of the Motown sound, he is also quick to acknowledge the vital influence from acts such as Hall and Oates, Earth Wind and Fire and The Beatles.
Since 1979, Leemanuel has had extensive experience in many areas of the business – from playing in bands, to production – as well as songwriting. Leemanuel signed to New World Records, where he worked as both a staff writer as well as an in-house producer. He’s also had the opportunity to work with the likes of rapper Speech (Arrested Development.)
“I’ve been in bands, but it led to a lifestyle – and interpersonal relationships – that always interfered with the creativity,” explains Leemanuel. At times, the industry became too frustrating, causing him to take nearly a decade away to reset his creative outlook and goals. It wasn’t until recently that Leemanuel realized the inherent power of the creative process. “There is nothing else that can replace the rush you get out of creating something from nothing,” he explains.
Today, Leemanuel has refocused himself on songwriting and recording. He released digital singles in 2011 that included “Do You Remember America,” “She Doesn’t Understand” and a Christmas pop ballad entitled, “Under The Mistletoe.” In late 2012, he released his first official debut album entitled Six Over 1-7.
As 2015 approaches, Leemanuel is back in the studio working on new material for his next upcoming album, you can bet he will continue compose music that explores the human condition and the “meaning within the muse.”